Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

The Edmonton Oilers Unsung Hero Thus Far in 2024 Playoffs

When it comes to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, he has proven to be more hero than unsung through two rounds in this year’s 2024 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs for the Edmonton Oilers. After a bit of negative regression from 2022-23 to 2023-24 regular season outputs, he definitely left some to be desired. In contrast, his performance thus far in the playoffs has been nothing short of unsung heroism, especially so, given that he more than welcomely is flying under the radar.

Playoff Success Vital for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and the Edmonton Oilers

Back to his regular season success and subsequent perseverance for a minute. In 2022-23, the Edmonton Oilers were ecstatic that they had Ryan Nugent-Hopkins arrive as a top-flight NHL point producer. They say patience is a virtue, and the wait was so worth it. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was a former first overall draft pick for the Edmonton Oilers, all the way back in 2011. He played for the Oilers as an 18-year-old, and 13 years and 881 regular season games later, he might end up as an Oiler lifer. Especially if he could add a Stanley Cup ring to his award cabinet.

How Did He Do It

Prior to last year, his career high was 69 points. However, he has always proven to be reliable and responsible. Five times in his career he played over 20 minutes a night in the regular season. But then last season, he was able to add a major offensive punch to his resume. He played a lot of power play time alongside his two offensive star teammates, Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid. Therefore, it is not hard to see it all coming together. He finished with 37 goals and 67 assists for 104 points that year. We kind of anticipated his success to carryover, but he did have a drop-off year-over-year in terms of offensive production. This year he had 18 goals and 49 assists for 67 points. One stat that stands out, is the dip in shooting percentage, from 18.4 to 9.8. It is also difficult to quantify, but McDavid and Draisaitl also saw pretty significant drops in point production. It just doesn’t feel like it when they total 132 and 106 points, respectively.

The Top Line of the Edmonton Oilers Shows the Team’s Roster Depth

How About the Playoffs

However, what we are talking about here, is what’s ultimately the most important, the playoffs. And in the playoffs, the Oilers big guns, have come alive. So far through two rounds, RNH has an assist a game, and four goals for 16 points. Yes, he has spent time off McDavid’s line, as Head Coach Kris Knoblauch has been loading up his top line regularly. The top line being Zach Hyman and Draisaitl along with McDavid. Conversely, this just exemplifies our discussion. RNH’s value is seen in that he is one of the top options as a secondary option to that top line. He can jump on at anytime and provide defensive responsibleness and packs an offensive punch. Nine of his 16 playoff points have been at even strength. Is this the year for the Edmonton Oilers? Well they have the Dallas Stars to leap frog first and RNH will be huge in providing the depth his club needs to counter Dallas’ sustained attack. The Western Conference final series gets kicked-off tomorrow from the state where everything’s apparently bigger, Texas.

Main photo credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports


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